Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Womenscape: Contemporary Expressions on Being a Woman

The Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation presented a two-day workshop for women art students at Kanakakunnu Palace in Trivandrum last week. The title of the workshop was "Womenscape: Contemporary Expressions on Being a Woman," and an exhibition of the artwork was held at the Museum Auditorium from March 23-25. Acrylic paint was the medium. Media students, primarily female, covered the workshop with written stories and video.

Painter in Womenscape workshopI was invited by organizers Latha Kurien Rajeev and Dr. Mini Nair to host an interactive session with the students, which was an honor. I took great pleasure in the experience, and enjoyed being among the participants, who asked excellent, challenging questions. I was impressed with the deep engagement I witnessed, and it was a delight to see the paintings in progress. I had already encountered one of the students in the ceramics studio during production of Rajan Krishnan’s oRe piece.

Here are a few photos from the second day of the workshop. I regret that I did not obtain all of the names of the people pictured. Jyothi M.V. is shown in the first slide with her painting; Greeshma Gopalan from Raja Ravivarma College of Fine Arts in Mavelikkara is shown second; and fellow student Remya R.S. is shown third, with a painting of a boat on the sea – note that the wind is catching the sail against the direction of travel. The women were responding to the theme of being a woman artist today.

Beauty of Water Website

Change in Leadership

Santhan N.V., former art lead for Beauty of Water in Kerala, has cleared the way for a new director to step into this important position. Santhan gave a great deal of consideration to this work over time, provided valuable input, and generously connected us with other wonderful people who have supported the project. I wish him well in his new career opportunities, and encourage others to watch this rising star. Meanwhile, I am in touch with outstanding new candidates, and excited about the prospects coming forth. More on this interesting evolution coming soon!

Beauty of Water Website

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happenings in March: Anitha Sharma; Funding Request; Bharathapuzha River

Anitha SharmaI have been continuing to connect with Beauty of Water collaborators around Kerala. Here is friend and collaborator Anitha Sharma, environmental educator and activist engaged in numerous activities with schools and organiztions throughout Kerala. One of the areas Anitha focuses on is wetlands. We are in discussions about how her work and Beauty of Water can be brought together in several future events and programs. More specific sharing will be posted here as time goes on.

In other news, Beauty of Water is now requesting funds! We have tallied our essential requirements and have created our first fundraising goal. Believe it or not, a mere $8500/Rs.3.4 lakhs will get us to completion of the Keralan art contribution. To support this visionary work, simply send a check made out to IHCenter/Beauty of Water to P.O. Box 923, Malibu, California 90265 USA. It is that easy. Alternatively you can give online. Thanks in advance for collaborating with this work in an extremely constructive manner!

And here are some photos taken by thirteen-year-old Narayanan C.R. (Appu, in blue) and me, at the Bharathapuzha River, also called the Nila. This is the second largest river in Kerala, and it runs through Palakkad, near the home of Sreeja, pictured here with niece Nivathetha. Sreeja's daughter Ammu is teaching me to dance, and playing alligator near some women I didn't meet. Sreeja and her family are performing artists who have built a house of pressed mud as a part of an emergent program for bringing arts, environmental education, organic farming using traditional Keralan seeds, care for seniors, and basic good living together in one place. Our first Beauty of Water art-making event will be held at this place in April.

Women washing at the Bharathapuzha RiverAppu, Nivathetha, and Ammu

Ammu and LizaSreeja and Nivathetha

Beauty of Water Website